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Americans Say Sugar, Booze and Tobacco Are More Harmful Than Cannabis

It’s time to play Cannabis Family Feud! Let’s get right to it. According to the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey, what is the top answer to this question: If you had to choose just one, which one of these four substances — alcohol, marijuana, sugar or tobacco — would you say is most harmful?

And the survey of 900 Americans says …

… Tobacco with 41 percent. Alcohol is second on the board with 24 percent. Sugar is a close third with 21 percent. And in last place is marijuana with only 9 percent.

That’s right. Marijuana is considered essentially a benign substance to 91 percent of the American public. A martini or a cigarette or a candy bar are considered more dangerous.

When the same question was asked in a 2014 survey, the rankings were essentially the same. But sugar picked up 6 percentage points (15 to 21) in the four years between the polls.

The Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey asked one other marijuana-related question:

If a law passed in your state that allowed adults to purchase small quantities of marijuana for their own personal use from regulated, state-licensed businesses would you:  

  1. Actively support such a law
  2. Be in favor but not actively support it
  3. Be opposed to it but not actively try to have it overturned
  4. Be opposed to such a law and actively work to overturn it? 

A whopping 31 percent of Americans surveyed say they actively support and another 29 percent say they are in favor — a combined 60 percent supporting legalization. Less than a quarter (24 percent) are opposed and only a measly 14 percent say they would actively fight legalization.

The 60 percent in support of legalization is up 5 percentage points from four years ago. Just last week, three separate polls concluded that the voters disagree with Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ reversal of Obama-era protections that relaxed federal marijuana laws in states where it is legalized. “The demographics say [cannabis] is here to stay, either for fun or to provide medical comfort. And the message to Attorney General Jeff Sessions: Hands off,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

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